A NEW trauma support service is launched in the region today (Tuesday May 3) to offer assistance to victims of serious accidents from the first day.

The North East’s first such service has been set up in conjunction with the trauma team at The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, and the charity Day One Trauma Support.

It has earned the backing of a motorcyclist, who suffered serious injuries when a car ran over his body, moments after knocking him off his bike, in April last year.

Remarkably, Mark McCourt remained awake throughout the ordeal, after a car emerged from a junction, causing him to flip over the handlebars, bounce off the vehicle’s bonnet, skid along a road before eventually being run over by the car, near Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Mr McCourt, 39, of South Shields, who shattered his pelvis, broke his leg, knee, ribs and vertebrate, was air lifted to the Major Trauma Centre at The James Cook hospital, where specialist medical staff operated on him.

He spent a month in hospital and longer at home recovering, which involved learning to walk again, living and sleeping downstairs, and showering in a pop-up tent in the garden.

A year on from the crash and he has had seven operations, is receiving specialist treatment in London for his damaged bladder and urethra, undergoes physio for his pelvic area and walks with a limp due to weakness in his left leg.

The former marine engineer is also dealing with the ongoing psychological impact caused by the injuries, including PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), flashbacks, and missing out on a ‘dream job’, which he was due to start two days after the crash.

Day One Trauma Support is the only charity assisting major trauma patients and their families in the UK, regardless of injury type or location.

The charity has partnered with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs James Cook, thanks to a collaboration with the trust’s Our Hospitals Charity.

James Cook is the Major Trauma Centre serving South Durham, East Cleveland, Tees Valley and North Yorkshire areas.

It provides a caseworker alongside NHS staff on the ward to support patients and their families as soon as they need help, by providing practical, emotional and financial support.

Day One can go beyond the scope of the NHS by providing emergency funding for things like accommodation, clothing or specialist equipment, legal and welfare benefits advice, counselling, and befriending through its dedicated team of peer support volunteers.

Mr McCourt has become Day One’s first peer support volunteer for James Cook and, along with others, will be available to talk with major trauma patients to give them hope and improve their recovery journey.

He remains under the care of consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon Andrew Gray at James Cook.

Read more: Biker badly hurt in County Durham crash this afternoon

Together, with the major trauma service, led by Dr Laura Evans, the team is launching the new Day One service for the North East, which will aim to help support the many aspects of patients’ lives as they recover from life-changing injuries.

As part of today’s launch, Day One and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have released new data showing Mr McCourt was one of 211 patients admitted to James Cook following injuries sustained by a road traffic collision (RTC) in 2021.

It is the second highest admission group, following falls from less than two metres.

Mr McCourt said: “Although what happened to me was horrendous, I was lucky to have the support of my family around me to get me through it.

“I had excellent care from the hospital staff, but when a major physical trauma happens to you, there are so many questions that go through your head and you don’t know where to turn.

“It’s fantastic that Day One is there to help people like me, and my family, navigate the system, and I can’t wait to give back and use my experience to help others across the North East.”

Lucy Nickson, CEO of Day One Trauma Support, said: “We’re thrilled to launch this partnership so we can help people like Mark get the support they so truly deserve.

“NHS clinical care is exceptional and has improved thanks to the work of Major Trauma Centres such as the one at James Cook.

“If you suffer a major physical trauma, you are more likely to survive your injuries, but enormous pressures on the NHS and inequities in the system mean recovery and rehabilitation support is inconsistent.

“That’s why Day One is becoming the ‘go to’ support for anyone affected by major trauma, as we can provide the vital practical and emotional support people need so they can rebuild their lives and look forward to the future.”

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